This article originally appeared on Sarah's personal blog.
I’ve been back on the road lately. I’ve been back and forth across this great country of ours a multitude of times. I’ve played with Asia. I’ve dabbled in great cities. I’ve enjoyed time in interesting hotels, first class, business class, and hotels I shall not name. I’ve earned my upgrades. I relish in my Million Miler United status. I am back on the “You give a ---- about what I think” circuit.
I live my professional life as a fanatic of customer service and the customer experience. I believe in sharing. I want you to know my voice, even if it is sometimes biased or bitter or exhausted or extroverted beyond your control. And apparently you all want my opinion as well. With all the miles and nights I’ve accumulated lately, I’ve received no less than 10 customer feedback surveys in the past three weeks. Be forewarned…ask and you shall receive; receive you shall in spades.
Let’s face it. Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is not rocket science. Do good, and people feel good. People feel good, and they say good things. BUT WHEN YOU DO AWESOME, PEOPLE SCREAM, YES, YES, YES! We like to share awesome things. We tweet about it, we share on Facebook, and we relish in telling others about how much the service we get is better than theirs. Yes, customer satisfaction has major bragging rights.
Likewise, if you jack it up, you ought to hear about it. As providers of something I pay for, or expect to get a certain level of service from, you deserve to know when it’s been screwed up. If nothing else, you should want to NOT REPEAT your failure, your indiscretion, your insincerity, or your damage. I consider it my gift back to you, and to the tens, hundreds, or thousands that may come behind me.
As a customer service “guru” I am always on the look-out for how we in this general industry can do things better. I am forever observant and curious. So after I had completed yet one more mindless and seemingly careless CSAT survey this week, I was wonderfully surprised to locate the innovative and unique one left on my desk at the Hotel Diva in San Francisco.
Side bar: Yes, I stayed at a charming boutique hotel with the blessed moniker of Diva. Is that not so rightfully fitting?
Back to the CSAT at hand. For starters it was PHYSICAL. There was something tangible and powerful about picking up this piece of paper and writing on it. I imagine someone transcribing my carefully crafted words into some database. That image leads me to think that said someone is ACTUALLY READING what I wrote!
And then there were the questions…yes, the usual “what did you like about…” were present, but then there were some fantastically personalized ones. My stick figure man wanted to know:
- What would YOU like changed about YOUR room? More counter space in the bathroom for all my girly things
- Most important feature in YOUR room YOU love? My windows opened to let in the crisp fall SF air, and there was a little fridge unencumbered by overpriced drinks that I will never consume
- Shoe size? 8.5-9. Yes, I have little feet for a tall girl
- What is the best amenity YOU ever received at a hotel? Fresh flowers
The back of the document was equally as compelling to me:
- Did our housekeeping live up to your expectations? Absolutely. They organized, restocked, cleaned and never disturbed
- Did everything work? Yes. And did I mention my windows opened?
- Which one of our personalities really shined? The concierge that first brought me to my room and checked back in on me, the front-desk man that recommended the amazing Japanese dive down the street, and the car service that whisked me efficiently back to SFO during a space shuttle drive-by
- Please embellish: Some things are best left between me and my hotel…
But embellish I did. This CSAT survey encouraged me to be creative. It made me want to walk down the street with this single piece of paper in hand and pony up to a pretty bar and order a glass of bubbly. It made me want to think. My stick man begged me to do him justice and truly consider my experience and all the other hotels and rooms that came before him. That my friends is what a customer satisfaction survey should compel you to do.
Hotel Diva is part of the Personality Hotels chain. Their mantra is “Our Passion is Your Experience”. This is not a luxury hotel, but it is a really good one. I thoroughly enjoyed their quirkiness, their uniqueness, and their personality. The staff treated me kindly and gave me excellent concierge, both proactively and at my request. They took my feedback to heart and acted on the one issue I had with swiftness and gratitude. Their passion made my experience worth it.
From one self-appointed Diva to another, I thank you. To loudly answer one of your questions – YES, YES, YES, I recommend you! My dear stick man, we shall see each other again very soon.
Sarah Stealey is Editor-at-Large for ICMI. email@example.com.